Friday, August 26, 2011

"Your Homework is what is going to make you money"

A friend of mine is in the beginning stages of manufacturing her invention and came to me for input, advice and insight as to what to expect.

I sat with her for two hours explaining the in's and out's of what is ahead of her from working with China, getting the right Attorney, branding, sourcing, becoming compliant with your product, product displays, retail pricing...phew, it was A LOT! But how cool that I now know all of these things. Don't get me wrong, I have tons more to learn but it felt really good to see how far we've come since November of 2010.

I never liked homework while I was in school but when it comes to launching your own product I am going to quote Daymond John's Mom, "Your homework is what is going to make you money."

My advice, read as many books from others that have successfully manufactured/sold their products. Three I recommend...The Brand Within by Daymond John - a great story of how he successfully launched FUBU with helpful tips for anyone starting out, Mommy Millionaire by Kim Lavine - an inventors bible and if you are sourcing from China for anything, Sourcing Smarts by Edith G. Tolchin - this book I wish I had read before I even started out.

My Cousin is already talking about the book I am going to write. Ha! Who knows...

While I am doling out advice, I will pass on what my Husband advised me to do (sadly I did not listen to his advice and paid the price for it) "Do not sign any contracts!" At least not in the beginning...things change too fast when you are first starting out.

I jumped the gun and signed a contract with a graphic artist (see my post, It's Business, It's not personal) which I am now being charged a ridiculous amount of money for work I could never use. My daughter could have created what I am paying her for. BUT, I did sign the contract and I will never, ever be known for not keeping my word. MAJOR lesson learned! *I'm sure I could write an entire chapter in my "book" about this lesson*

One last thing, expect to take three steps forward and two steps back...but don't worry, you'll get there...just like I am with SassaB™!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

It's Business It's not personal

The saying, "It's business, it's not personal" has been around for years but I remember it best from one of my favorite movies You've got Mail. Just thinking of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in this adorable romantic comedy puts a smile on my face. But this post isn't about romance or movies. It's about getting a thick skin and putting on your "business hat."

I've had a recent experience with a very young, inexperienced graphic artist whom I had hired in February  that has not ended favorably. After a few months working together I realized that this business relationship was not going to work out so I explained that SassaB was going in another direction and to please send me an invoice for the remaining balance of our contract. That was April. I never received an invoice.

Ten days ago I ran into this young, inexperienced graphic artist and when I cheerfully approached her to say "Hello" she curtly said, "We are still under contract." Because I had not received an invoice four months ago when I requested one and had not heard from her, I assumed we were all square with payment. Apparently not.

Long story short, I have requested an invoice three times now (via email) and still have not received one. I'm not sure why she is not billing me but I can only chalk it up to her lack of experience working with clients and hopefully this can be a learning experience for her.

What I have learned is that you get what you pay for and...It's business, it's not personal.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Setting our sights on October

I woke up this morning with an email telling me that 3,000 units of SassaB™ are on their way. I am waiting for 6,000 more and I have 1,000 here already so once I get all 10,000 pieces, I can launch!

But here is what I have to do in the meantime: Get Product Liability Insurance, Have photos/video taken (can not do this until I have all 10,000 units), order die cuts (need pics for die cuts), order floor and counter displays (need photos), have website designed (need photos/videos for this), purchase/decide on a mailer to send out samples.

As you can see, most of what I have to do can not be done until I get photos and I can not get photos until I receive all of the product. So what we are looking at is launching one month from the time all of the product is in our office. Let's check the calender...if we go by past orders/timeline, I am looking at the first week of September for receiving the finial products.

That puts us in October. That is one month before the year anniversary of the idea of SassaB™. One year. Wow...that year went fast!!!

If you remember, I was planning on launching in March (so naive!), then in June which turned into August and now I am setting my sights on October. Let's hope October it is!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Work vs. Love - why not have both?

While my Husband and I were talking business on date night, he kindly pointed out that I do not like to work. Thanks Babe. Let me ask you this, who DOES like to work? Work is called "work" for a reason.

But the beautiful part is, SassaB™ is not "work." Yes, I will be really, really more catching up on Bravo in the middle of the day but I couldn't be happier. I am following my dream and I am blessed to be able to say so.

If you knew my Husband, you'd know that he is quite the skeptic. It takes a lot to get Jason excited about something. Some would say he's a pessimist. I prefer "realist" but either way, when Jason is on board with something, you know that "something" is pretty darn good. And...yep, he's on board with SassaB. Phew.

Last night he told me, "You have me totally convinced that you can sell 5,000 units of SassaB like that" (insert snap here).  It doesn't hurt that every retailer we have shown SassaB to wants to place an order. That's 100%. Our friends and family love it to and rave to Jason what a genius I am. Ha! I love that part!

So I will work, work, work the day away and love, love every minute of it!

I hope you are out there doing what you love as well!